Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Sunday’s game between the Pacers and Celtics was already well out of hand when Pacers guard Lance Stephenson started showboating.
The most obvious example — beyond his staying in the blowout only to complete a triple-double — came when he crossed over Celtics guard Courtney Lee, then sank a jumper and proceeded to shimmy in place after the shot went through.
The Celtics weren’t thrilled after their 106-79 loss — their worst of the season — but they were especially unhappy with Stephenson’s actions.
“Of course,” Jeff Green said when asked if he was upset at how Stephenson acted. “That’s not basketball. He made great plays, but at the end of the day, make a great play and get back at the other end. We’ll see them again.”
Stephenson tried to defend himself.
“It just came with the flow of the game. I was trying to entertain the crowd. I was so much into the game, it just came out naturally,” he said after finishing with 12 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds, his third triple-double this season.
“I didn’t mean to do it, it just came with the flow of the game. I know for sure [Pacers coach Frank Vogel] is going to say something about it. I got to get ready for that. But when the crowd’s into it, I try to do something to get the crowd hyped.”
Stephenson continued: “If it comes out in the flow of the game, it happens, I don’t go into the game saying, ‘When I make this shot I’m going to do this dance.’ It just comes out. I’m surprised when it happens. When I make a shot, sometimes I’m surprised. I’m like, ‘Wow.’ So I’m like congratulating myself.”
Editor’s note: While I was tempted to write a feel-good blog on Christmas morning, I channeled my inner grinch and opted for this topic.
Lance Stephenson embarrassed himself in Sunday nights blowout victory over the Celtics.
I don’t have a big issue with Stephenson’s Antoine Walker-esque shimmy following the jump shot. If we’re going to smile when Celtics players celebrate, we have to allow for opposing players to do the same.
My gripe is with his Ricky Davis-esque attempts at obtaining the triple-double in a meaningless game. Such a silly move by a guy loaded with talent. Fortunately for the Pacers, Stephenson is only 23 and he’ll undoubtedly look back on this moment in a few years with some embarrassment.
I’m glad the Jeff Green (and hopefully other Celtics) took notice. I want a hard foul in the next Pacers/Celtics game.
On Page 2, Danny Ainge supports a new draft proposal
The intriguing and radical new draft proposal released this week through grantland.com is a local product. The system, which uses a formula to have teams picking in each of the 30 positions over a 30-year span, is the creation of Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren.
The plan Zarren devised would, for example, have the team picking first one year choose 30th, 19th, 18th, seventh, sixth, 25th, 23rd, 14th, 11th and second in the next 10 drafts.
“That would make sense to me,” Ainge said. “It would put an onus on management to manage their team and their draft picks. They would be able to just play and not worry about maneuvering to get a draft pick. Every 30 years, you’d have the first draft pick. Every 30 years, you’d have the second pick, and so forth. Look at it this way, you’d be in the top six every five years.”
The proposal has been discussed in the upper reaches of the league office and could be submitted to owners some time in the new year, though even those involved in its creation believe it has a very small chance at success at this time. Their hope is that it will be judged on its merits and, if the ancillary problems with the present lottery system persist, that it could be seen as a viable alternative.
“Maybe owners won’t ever agree to it because, they like the fact that if they’re not winning they can sell their fans on the hope that there might be something good around the corner in the draft,” Ainge said. “But maybe teams wouldn’t be falling so far out of it if there was a better system.”
Quick quiz: How many North American professional sports leagues instituted a draft lottery system due to concerns teams were deliberately losing to acquire top draft picks?
Answer: 1. The NBA.
The lottery has done nothing to deter teams from tanking. We’ve seen blatant tank jobs since then (1997, 2007 and 2013). Aside from the NFL’s “Suck for Luck” campaign in 2012, there’s nothing comparable. How’s that for a legacy, David Stern?
I’m intrigued by this new draft proposal. Owners may bitch that it doesn’t do enough to help the bad teams. And to those owners I would say – Be smarter when signing free agents.
The rest of the links: